I Think of My Old Job when I Want to Complain

I have been working really hard lately, although it is not like when I was much younger and I would spend my summers working for a tree service in Hendersonville, NC. My uncle lived there and he knew the guy I worked for, something of a caricature of the hard drinking, hard working mountain man. I always think about him and those days when I want to complain about my job or I hear other people talk about how hard their work lives are. I would walk about three quarters of a mile at around a quarter to five in the morning and his wife would cook the two of us and her children these enormous breakfasts, usually bacon or country ham along with grits, cornbread, eggs, sawmill gravy and biscuits. Then we would be off and we would not come back until we got done.

If no one was paying him, then we would go and cut down trees for the lumber mills or for firewood. My job was pretty tough, but I spent all my time on the ground trying to make sure nothing fell from the sky and killed me. If we were in someone’s yard then you wanted to make sure that you did not leave big holes in the ground from where chunks of wood would fall thirty feet or more and go deep into the ground. You watch that and you think that you might be softer than the ground is quite often and one of those pieces of wood would probably do a great deal of damage to you if you stood in the wrong place beneath the tree that Bill was up in working. Of course back then I would go out drinking most nights, but not after 12 hours or so of this stuff.